If you look closely at a Detroit techno record produced before 2008, chances are you’ll find the inscription “NSC” in the run-out groove near the label. It stands for National Sound Corporation, and it was record cutter Ron Murphy’s way of leaving his signature. Murphy was a legend behind the scenes, almost exclusively responsible for cutting the master lacquers of Detroit’s techno community. “Everyone used Ron – he was the go-to guy,” says Mike Huckaby. “It was religious to take records to Ron Murphy,” adds Juan Atkins.
Born in 1948, Murphy developed a fascination with records early on. In an interview with Massive Mag, he told writer Tim Langham the story behind ordering his first record cutting equipment through a comic book at the age of 11: “In ‘59, I got a comic book and there was an ad from a place that sold these little buzzers and x-ray glasses,” Murphy explained to Langham, “and they had this thing that said, ‘Record your voice at home, just send us $6.98 and we’ll send you everything you need… full supply of blanks, cutting needles, everything… it all hooks up to your phonograph.’”